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Biosimilars applications under review by EMA – August 2017

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the body responsible for approval of biosimilars within the European Union (EU). A legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2003. Approval of biosimilars is based on an abbreviated registration process, which allows biosimilars manufacturers to provide a reduced package of information compared to originator drugs, provided they can prove ‘similarity’ to the originator or reference drug.

Biosimilars of etanercept

Last update: 22 September 2017

Etanercept is a biological drug that treats autoimmune diseases by inhibiting tumour necrosis factor (TNF); a soluble inflammatory cytokine. Etanercept is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid, juvenile rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis.

‘Similar biologics’ approved and marketed in India

Last update: 22 September 2017

There have been established guidelines for approving generic versions of small molecule chemical drugs in India for some time already. However, no specific guidelines for ‘similar biologics’, as the Indian regulatory authorities call these products, have existed in India until recently. This has been the case despite the fact that the requirements for granting regulatory approval for such ‘similar biologics’ required more data than for a simple generic drug application [1].

WHO launches consultation on prequalification of biosimilars

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in September 2017 that it would be launching its pilot project for prequalifying biosimilars in October 2017. The step is intended to make ‘some of the most expensive treatments for cancer more widely available in low- and middle-income countries’.

Biosimilars of adalimumab

Last update: 15 September 2017

Adalimumab is a human monoclonal antibody that treats autoimmune diseases by inhibiting tumour necrosis factor (TNF); a soluble inflammatory cytokine. Adalimumab binds to TNF-alpha (TNF-α), preventing it from activating TNF receptors, which cause the inflammatory reactions associated with autoimmune diseases. Adalimumab is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid, juvenile idiopathic and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis.

Biosimilars of ranibizumab

Last update: 15 September 2017

Ranibizumab is a monoclonal antibody fragment created from the same parent mouse antibody as bevacizumab. Ranibizumab inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), a mechanism similar to bevacizumab [1]. 

Biosimilars of pegfilgrastim

Last update: 8 September 2017

Pegfilgrastim is a PEGylated form of the recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) analogue filgrastim. It serves to stimulate the level of white blood cells (neutrophils). Pegfilgrastim treatment can be used to stimulate bone marrow to produce more neutrophils (white blood cells) to fight infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Subsequent entry biologics approved in Canada

Last update: 8 September 2017

In Canada, the regulatory body for the approval of biologicals is the Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate (BGTD) of the Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada.

Australia’s TGA consults on naming of biologicals

Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), announced on 28 July 2017 that it was opening a consultation on how to name biologicals.

Biosimilars approved in the US

Last update: 1 September 2017

In the US, a legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2009, via the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act).

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